Reynolds leads Navy to 51-7 win over Delaware
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has become increasingly confident in quarterback Keenan Reynolds and allowed him to open up the passing game Saturday against Delaware.
The sophomore responded with one of the best performances of his young career.
Reynolds completed 10 of 13 passes for a career-high 233 yards with two touchdowns, including a 63-yard strike to DeBrandon Sanders, leading the Midshipmen 51-7 over Delaware on Saturday.
Reynolds also ran for 109 yards on 15 carries. Sanders finished with 86 yards on three receptions, while Geoffrey Whiteside rushed for two touchdowns. Navy (2-0) also forced three turnovers and amassed 591 yards on offense.
''I've been doing this a long time, and I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm not an idiot, and that dude is good,'' Niumatalolo said about Reynolds. ''The guy makes us a lot smarter. He's having a great season. He just has to stay humble and hungry. Fortunately, he comes from great parents. I think the kid will stay the course.''
Navy has scored 92 points in its first two games, the most since the opening the 1975 season with victories over Virginia (42-14) and Connecticut (55-7). The Midshipmen also beat Delaware (2-1) for the third consecutive time and improved to 10-7 in the series, first played in 1931.
Trent Hurley, who is one of 11 FBS transfers on the Blue Hens roster, was 17 of 25 for 152 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. It was the most points Delaware allowed since a 49-21 loss to Appalachian State in the Football Championship Subdivision title game in 2007.
Navy scored on its first four possessions and had a 23-7 lead at the half. After Delaware stopped Navy on a 3rd and 1 with 2:10 left in the second quarter, the Midshipmen's Pablo Beltran punted for the first time this season - a 53-yarder to the Delaware 3.
The Midshipmen continued to pull away in the second half and increased the lead to 30-7 on their first possession on a 27-yard pass from Reynolds to Shawn Lynch. A pair of scoring runs by Whiteside and Chris Swain from 13 and 2 yards, respectively, on the next two possessions increased the margin to 44-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen pulled most of their offensive starters with 13:01 left in the game, allowing backup quarterback John Hendrick to run for a 1-yard score with nine minutes left in the game. It was the most points Navy scored in a home opener since 1977.
''I thought we were very efficient,'' Reynolds said. ''We made some big plays. It was just a team effort. It starts up front and the O-line played their butts off just like last week. We just got to keep building on what we've done.''
The Midshipmen opened a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 10-yard run by Darius State and a 24-yard field goal by Nick Sloan.
An interception by DJ Sargenti at the Delaware 44 set up Navy's second touchdown, a 7-yard run by Whiteside for a 17-0 lead with 13:12 left in the half. The Midshipmen continued to dominate and took the 23-0 lead when Reynolds hit DeBrandon across the middle for a 63-yard score.
''All throughout camp, the coaches said they were going to have faith in me,'' DeBrandon said. ''I just trust in the blocking scheme and how everything will work. If we keep playing like this, good things are going to happen.''
The Blue Hens finally got on the board on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hurley to Ryan Cobb with 4:27 left in the second quarter.
''I'm not going to let frustration rule the day,'' Delaware coach Dan Brock said. ''The thing I'm most disappointed about is that we didn't come out offensively and on special teams like we are capable of playing. We needed to come out today and put pressure on Navy to get them out of rhythm and we were not able to do it.''
Delaware was just 1 of 7 on third-down conversions in the first half. Navy senior Marcus Thomas set a school record with his 82 career kick-off returns.